SCOTUS Won’t Take Up Hospitals’ Suit Challenging Site-Neutral Cuts

Inside Health Policy

June 28, 2021 11:56 am

The Supreme Court on Monday (June 28) decided not to take up hospitals’ lawsuit over the Trump CMS’ Medicare Part B pay cuts for outpatient clinic visits at certain off-campus hospital facilities, but the court has not decided whether to look at the lawsuit on reimbursement cuts for 340B drugs that hospitals said was linked to the site-neutral suit.

Hospitals in February asked the high court to take up both cases after winning lawsuits over the so-called site-neutral cuts and the Part B pay cuts for 340B drugs at the district court level only to have the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturn those rulings. The providers said the appeals court gave too much weight to HHS’ interpretation of the statute in each situation. As both cases are based on the so-called Chevron defense, which addresses how much flexibility agencies have to interpret laws, the American Hospital Association said the cases are complementary.

The Association of American Medical Colleges also asked the Supreme Court to look at both lawsuits, and America’s Essential Hospitals joined AHA and AAMC in asking the Supreme Court to take up the lawsuit over 340B drug pay cuts in Medicare.

AHA General Counsel Melinda Hatton said hospitals are disappointed the Supreme Court won’t hear the site-neutral case. “These cuts to hospital outpatient departments directly undercut the clear intent of Congress to protect them because of the many real and crucial differences between them and other sites of care.”

The Biden administration had argued there was no reason for the Supreme Court to take up the case.

Still, one lobbyist said some had hoped the conservative judges on the high court might use the case as a way to cut back on the deference that Chevron gives to agencies, but it didn’t go that way.